Moving from banquet/catering to restaurant? Advice needed

36
4
Joined Jan 22, 2018
Hey everyone,

A little about me I'm 28 years old, have 4 years experience as an executive chef in catering/banquets as well as about 6 years of line cooking when I was younger, but want to transition to restaurants so I can utilize my creativity more, make a name for myself. I have an opportunity to be an executive chef at a fine dining resteraunt that just does dinner service, lower volume service, seems like a great stepping stone. Has anyone made this transition before? Any concerns I should be aware of?
 
3,107
585
Joined May 5, 2010
Bravo for you.
You have an all around balance of experience, with catering, mass quantity production, as well as line experience.
As an Exec in a restaurant, your creativity will be dependent on your food cost, as well as other issues.
I have been in your shoes and found out that banquets and catering allow for a lot more creativity than a restaurant can.
In order for you to have that creativity yourself, you'd have to own the place, that is unless you can convince the owners of your ernes and ideas.
 
36
4
Joined Jan 22, 2018
Chef Ross thanks for the reply,

Luckily for me this place is like a dream job for a chef, they allow constant menu change, they actually encourage it. Owners say i have full freedom to be creative, there current chef that's leaving has been there for 30 years can you believe that!! So my question is, will there be any technical hurdles I should be aware of when going to resteraunt chef from catering/banquet?


Bravo for you.
You have an all around balance of experience, with catering, mass quantity production, as well as line experience.
As an Exec in a restaurant, your creativity will be dependent on your food cost, as well as other issues.
I have been in your shoes and found out that banquets and catering allow for a lot more creativity than a restaurant can.
In order for you to have that creativity yourself, you'd have to own the place, that is unless you can convince the owners of your ernes and ideas.
 
1,021
606
Joined Mar 1, 2017
Chef Ross thanks for the reply,

Luckily for me this place is like a dream job for a chef, they allow constant menu change, they actually encourage it. Owners say i have full freedom to be creative, there current chef that's leaving has been there for 30 years can you believe that!! So my question is, will there be any technical hurdles I should be aware of when going to resteraunt chef from catering/banquet?
Not to hijack chefross's excellent advice, but, what you are transitioning into should be very similar to what you have come to already know. Its the same language, just a slightly different dialect.

Where the vowels and consonants will probably be different for you will be in dealing with suppliers in terms of costs, volume and available/types of ingredients vs. cost/budget, menu pricing and so on. I assume you are already very well familiar with these things from the catering and banquet aspect so, dealing with them in the context of a restaurant that only has one service per day should come to you rather easily.

Another technical difference is when it comes to menu planning and food purchasing. In banquets and catering, you receive in advance a general headcount which allows you to plan, order, prep your ingredients and budget your time accordingly. In a restaurant, you typically don't have these advantages, as you know. You have to guestimate the number of covers you will have on any given night, factoring in such things as weather, time of year, day of the week, holidays and so on and plan your logistics for that night's service accordingly. This will become easier as you become more familiar with the ebb and flow of the restaurant's business.

As we old timers say, "the steak still sizzles in the pan, the only thing that changes is the pan."

I think you will find the transition to be a bit easier than you think. Either way, it seems as though you have a good opportunity here and are ready for the challenge. Good for you! If you need any further advice or information, don't be shy. We love to throw around our opinions here. :)

Good luck. :)
 
36
4
Joined Jan 22, 2018
Wow thanks so much for the awesome advice, you really boosted my moral, now I can't wait to start this! You and chef ross really made my day.


Not to hijack chefross's excellent advice, but, what you are transitioning into is going to should be very similar to what you have come to already know. Its the same language, just a slightly different dialect.

Where the vowels and consonants will be different will likely be in dealing with suppliers in terms of costs, volume and available ingredients vs. cost/budget, menu pricing and so on. I assume you are already very well familiar with these things from the catering and banquet aspect so, dealing with them in the context of a restaurant that only has one service per day should come to you rather easily.

Another technical difference is when it comes to menu planning and food purchasing. In banquets and catering, you receive in advance a general headcount which allows you to plan, order, prep your inventory (and time) accordingly. In a restaurant, you typically don't have that advantage, as you know. You have to guestimate the number of covers you will have on any given night, factoring in such things as weather, time of year, day of the week, holidays and so on. This will become easier as you become more familiar with the ebb and flow of the restaurant's business.

As we old timers say, "the steak still sizzles in the pan, the only thing that changes is the pan."

I think you will find the transition to be a bit easier than you think. Either way, it seems as though you have a good opportunity here and are ready for the challenge. Good for you! If you need any further advice or information, don't be shy. We love to throw around our opinions here. :)

Good luck. :)
 
2,373
679
Joined Feb 8, 2009
Chefmike, I remember every catering I did in Hawaii. We did off-site Luau's and everything from 7 course dinners in Mansons to small office parties and luncheons. I don't remember one day cheffing on a front line. The point I'm getting at is, Catering gets the juices going. The logistics and creativity is unlimited. You need to think every minute and failsafe everything. This gave me the biggest sense of accomplishment and self fulfillment. Coming from a catering background I found it being a bit claustrophobic in a restaurant kitchen. I also didn't like the set menu, I found it boring over time and repetitious.
You knowledge in Catering will set you up fine for your new position......Good luck.......ChefBillyb
 
36
4
Joined Jan 22, 2018
Thanks chef,
I do love catering but I miss the intimacy of resteraunt cooking, unfortunately I live in Wisconsin so we do not have the best job opportunities for chefs in catering, just alot of stepping stones. Around here getting a fine dining exec chef position is pretty rare and this one I hope to make a name for myself! Thanks for your advice!!! You guys/gals are awesome!!
Chefmike, I remember every catering I did in Hawaii. We did off-site Luau's and everything from 7 course dinners in Mansons to small office parties and luncheons. I don't remember one day cheffing on a front line. The point I'm getting at is, Catering gets the juices going. The logistics and creativity is unlimited. You need to think every minute and failsafe everything. This gave me the biggest sense of accomplishment and self fulfillment. Coming from a catering background I found it being a bit claustrophobic in a restaurant kitchen. I also didn't like the set menu, I found it boring over time and repetitious.
You knowledge in Catering will set you up fine for your new position......Good luck.......ChefBillyb
 
2
0
Joined Apr 21, 2019
Not to hijack chefross's excellent advice, but, what you are transitioning into should be very similar to what you have come to already know. Its the same language, just a slightly different dialect.

Where the vowels and consonants will probably be different for you will be in dealing with suppliers in terms of costs, volume and available/types of ingredients vs. cost/budget, menu pricing and so on. I assume you are already very well familiar with these things from the catering and banquet aspect so, dealing with them in the context of a restaurant that only has one service per day should come to you rather easily.

Another technical difference is when it comes to menu planning and food purchasing. In banquets and catering, you receive in advance a general headcount which allows you to plan, order, prep your ingredients and budget your time accordingly. In a restaurant, you typically don't have these advantages, as you know. You have to guestimate the number of covers you will have on any given night, factoring in such things as weather, time of year, day of the week, holidays and so on and plan your logistics for that night's service accordingly. This will become easier as you become more familiar with the ebb and flow of the restaurant's business.

As we old timers say, "the steak still sizzles in the pan, the only thing that changes is the pan."

I think you will find the transition to be a bit easier than you think. Either way, it seems as though you have a good opportunity here and are ready for the challenge. Good for you! If you need any further advice or information, don't be shy. We love to throw around our opinions here. :)

Good luck. :)
Hey man - that's really great advice..even if you think you already know it, it's good to be reminded!
 
Top Bottom